Summary and Analysis
Book 2: Chapters 11-23
Nearly midway in Book 2, events take up roughly where they left off at the end of Book 1, but now there is an added tension — Nicole's mental illness. Rosemary's seeing Nicole in the bathroom, babbling insanely, has shattered the calm. The reader has also been given a case history, as it were, in the first half of Book 2. This history has been presented in two voices — first, from the vantage point of authorial omniscience which, one assumes, explains the truth in objective terms, and, second, from Nicole's sometimes deranged point of view which, while covering the historical events, also adds the dramatic dimension of her uncertain mental state.
In the remainder of Book 2, events center on Dick Diver; the narrator follows him as he begins to perceive his situation and even to yield to it. Dick's decisiveness becomes progressively eroded, and his actions become a moral shadowboxing, for his struggle revealed here, shows him trying to save himself (not Nicole and not Rosemary) and finally realizing that he will fail.
Dick Diver's chief moral burden is, of course, his love for Nicole, because he increasingly realizes that he is her doctor as well as her husband, and after each of her breakdowns he must labor to put her back together again. It has also become clear to Dick that maintaining a financial independence is difficult. Fitzgerald describes Dick as an ascetic; he requires a few worldly goods to survive. After his marriage, for example, when he travels he always stays in economy hotels and drinks cheap wine. But Nicole's wealth, almost insidiously, begins to surround him; the magnificence of the Villa Diana, the Divers' house on the Riviera, is inescapable, and their entire life-style is set by Nicole's money. It would, however, be too facile to say that Dick's tragic flaw, the weakness that inexorably spells doom for him, is his succumbing to wealth. He is a much more complicated character than that; the fact of financial plenty, however, does erode his ability to work, which in turn drains his own self-esteem.
The crucial fact in Dick's decline is not really Nicole or her money, though both are contributing factors. It is, rather, his realization that he is in love with Rosemary. His feeling is revealed in a conversation with Elsie Speers, Rosemary's mother, in Chapter xi, though the verbalization of his infatuation with Rosemary surprises him more than it does Mrs. Speers. To the tension of dealing with the sick Nicole and the well Nicole is added, then, the complicating factor of a new love.
Dick is quite aware that for Nicole's sanity and his own peace of mind, he must exorcise Rosemary's spirit. Nicole already seems to understand Dick's new attachment, and she seems to goad him into conversation about her. Perhaps it is but testimony to Dick's weakness that an emotional abyss is created by his cold and professional attention to Nicole; the warmth of love for Rosemary threatens to fill that void.
In Chapter xii Dick perceives his entrapment: he is entrapped by Nicole's wealth, his own diminished ability to work, and his love for Rosemary. As he sits down to play "Tea for Two" at the piano, he suddenly knows that Nicole will hear it and guess, quite correctly, that the "two" in Dick's heart are himself and Rosemary. A quality of constraint is forced upon his life.
The weakening of his resolve is best typified by his submission to the Warren money in the purchase of a clinic. In Chapter xiii, Dick Diver struggles to maintain his own dignified independence, but his opponents are strong. The scene is Gstaad, Switzerland, a ski resort where Fitzgerald himself with his daughter, Scottie, vacationed briefly to restore themselves after Zelda's admission to the Prangins Clinic. Nicole has once again recovered, but Dick lives with the sinister threat of a recurrence of her illness ever ominous. So when Franz Gregorovius, his former working partner at Zurich, approaches him with the proposal that they buy a clinic and undertake to manage it together, he should be delighted: it would be a means of committing himself once again to his career by practicing on a day-to-day basis with patients. Almost immediately it becomes clear, however, that Franz is approaching him not because of his professional qualifications but because of his having easily accessible money for capital.
When Dick cynically brings Baby Warren into the conversation, the reader understands that Dick Diver realizes — with pain — that he is once more to be "purchased." Baby Warren was able to buy a doctor for Nicole; now she wants to buy a clinic for her sister. The author tells us Baby's thoughts at this time if Nicole lives near a clinic, Baby would never worry about her. Dick's future is sealed.
Dick's utter captivity is revealed on the sleigh trip back to the hotel, when the party includes a young Englishman who regales the company with tales of how a friend and he "love" each other by boxing for an hour. Dick finds the assertion absurd and the young man a bounder; when the young Englishman angrily cuts off the discussion with "If you don't understand, I can't explain it to you," Dick falls silent, admonishing himself by musing, "This is what I'll get if I begin saying what I think." Defeated by the forces of money and responsibility for his wife, Dick decides to open the clinic with Franz. Chapter xiii ends with a lyrical goodbye, another of the novel's poignant leave-takings.
But the clinic, far from spelling professional happiness for Dick and security for Nicole, is but another rung on Dick's professional ladder down. The symbolic clue to Dick's defeat is his dream at the beginning of Chapter xiv. He dreams at first of orderly rows of uniforms marching to the second movement of Prokofiev's Love for Three Oranges; but fire engines, "symbols of disaster," and an uprising of mutilated war victims shatter the vision. In his notebook Dick describes the dream, then concludes, "non-combatant's shell-shock."
The phrase is important because it again reveals Dick Diver's fascination with war, as his tour of the battlefields did earlier. It should be noted that he is a non-combatant in several senses: while formally in the army in Zurich, he never saw duty; rather, he spent the time completing his degree in psychiatry. He is also an onlooker in the struggles that seem to determine his life: increasingly, Nicole's needs and Baby Warren's bank account dictate his actions. Finally, and not the least important, is the relation to Fitzgerald's own life, when in a spirit of patriotism, he signed up to go to war in 1917 but got only as far as Alabama. But like everyone else in postwar America, Fitzgerald was a victim of the war, though he was a non-combatant.
Dick Diver is, at the clinic, lonelier than ever and more ruled than ever. He has to work full-time at his career and, at the same time, support his wife mentally. At this point in her life, Nicole's only commitment to life is her husband: "When he turned away from her into himself he left her holding Nothing in her hands and staring at it, calling it many names, but knowing it was only the hope that he would come back soon." Yet the feeling is not reciprocal; Dick's life never depended, wholly, on Nicole.
There is a paradox in the dependence relationship that readers can sense — even though Fitzgerald himself did not seem to realize it — perhaps because in a very real sense he was writing about himself and Zelda, and they never were able to understand each other on the question of independence in marriage. On the one hand, Nicole is, and always has been, clinging. By the end of the story, her originally dependent relation to Dick has moved into a kind of independence. The implication in the pattern of transference in the novel is that Nicole feeds off Dick's strength; she is a parasite and he is host, and she grows stronger as he becomes weaker, until she can eventually toss him away. One must assume that Fitzgerald views this dependency as poisonous, since the hero (in many ways Fitzgerald himself) is defeated. He clearly approves of Dick's original ambition in his career and his early strength and independence, so that as he chronicles his fall from strength, Fitzgerald tacitly assumes that independence of body and mind is best.
The character of the "Iron Maiden" in Chapter xiv is what gives the lie to Fitzgerald's real attitude about male/female relations and helps explain why the characterization of Nicole is as confused as it is. The Iron Maiden is a favorite patient of Doctor Diver's; he cares for her deeply and wants to protect her (as he wanted to care for Nicole and as Fitzgerald wanted to help Zelda). Her plight is that her body is completely covered with eczema, the same painful skin eruption that Zelda Fitzgerald suffered in the Swiss clinic. When Doctor Diver converses with the Iron Maiden (so called because she is clad in her disease as completely as if she was encased in the medieval torture device of spike-lined armor), she says she is "sharing the fate of the women of my time who challenged men to battle." The surface suggestion is that she is dying of syphilis (later Franz, in his dull way, insists that, despite tests, this was the case), but the deeper meaning is that, as in the case of Zelda Fitzgerald, her psychological sickness is a desire to be a man — independent, creative in her own right. That "sickness" is manifested by a painful physical condition. She is, simply, by her physical makeup, not equal to the strain of having her own identity. Women who are not submissive and dependent will, it seems, succumb.
Fitzgerald never seems to understand that to invest one's self completely in another (as he implies that the Iron Maiden should have done) is the reverse side of the Nicole coin. Nicole, by her vampire-like dependence, finally bleeds her husband to powerlessness. We have evidence, then, from the Iron Maiden and Nicole respectively, that independence in women must be bought at a man's expense. The woman who has an identity of her own either will destroy herself — or her man — in the process.
One of Dick Diver's problems is that he realizes that Nicole's dependence is a heavy liability; if the author were to have been consistent, he would have had Nicole maintain her childish dependence to the end and that relationship would have brought her, and Dick, happiness. Since Fitzgerald seems to be saying very clearly that a marriage between two fully independent people is impossible, one could assume that he would approve of a moral unit: the husband and wife are one and act as one.
Later in the book, when Nicole pleads for help and understanding from Dick after her madness at the carnival, he is deeply disturbed by the knowledge that he and Nicole will not be able to succeed together. Here again, Fitzgerald verbalizes his prototypical — and probably destructive — theory about dependency. Men, he says, are "beam and idea, girder and logarithm." Presumably the completed metaphor would make women brick and cement, the practical and concrete expansion of the building. The sexes would thus be complementary and mutually interdependent. Nicole and Dick, in Doctor Diver's mind, will fail because they are "one and equal." They are so involved in each other that they cannot even be divided into interdependency; his destruction, therefore, is carried on at the same time as hers. He cannot see her as broken and suffering without becoming so himself. If Dick Diver's assessment were true, however, Dick would rise at the same time Nicole does — instead of becoming, as he does, the shell of his former self.
Nicole's usurpation of Dick is manifested by her jealousy, first about Rosemary and, second, in Chapter xv, about a former mental patient who writes to say that Dick has seduced her daughter. Nicole believes the woman; Dick, innocent, is impatient with such claims, perhaps not realizing how desperately Nicole needs to own him.
The climax of Nicole's jealousy and madness is examined in the carnival scene in Chapter xv. To have chosen a carnival as the vehicle of madness is a particularly appropriate metaphor. Carnivals originated as popular celebrations of the ecclesiastical calendar, and they were typified by temporary schizophrenia, for, with a mask and costume, the participant could become another person. This duality seems to be part of the human condition, and probably few psychologists would argue that setting aside one celebration a year, where human beings could change identities, is not unconstructive.
Nicole's "carnival," however, lasts longer. Earlier, in Chapter xiv, Nicole is described as being without any identity, save that which she has in Dick. The carnival underscores that condition, for the thought of losing Dick to another is not simple jealousy; it means, quite literally, losing herself. As the family drives along the mountain road toward the festival, Nicole withdraws increasingly. The tension is high. There will have to be an explosion soon, one feels. Once at the carnival, she is described as being disoriented, unable to anchor herself to any object. When at last she begins to run wildly into the crowd, one does not know whether she is fleeing from something or toward something. In the novel there have been three occasions of these mad fits, and they have each occurred after an event that threatened to take Dick away from Nicole — twice because she saw the love he bore for Rosemary and, the last time, because of a letter from a former patient. Nicole becomes literally insane at the thought of losing her husband, who is nothing less than her being.
Fitzgerald describes these scenes powerfully; the reader can feel the confusion and sound of carnival merriment that contrasts so strongly with the very serious chase going on within it. Dick pursues his wife and, at one point, time seems to stand still, for he circles the merry-go-round until he realizes that he is running at the same rate that it is, and he is staring at the same horse. It is a suspension of time reminiscent of the cricket's song earlier in Chapter v.
When Dick finally manages to find Nicole, she is on the Ferris wheel, in the top seat, and she laughs hysterically all the way down. The Ferris wheel, again, is a most suitable metaphor for Nicole's plight; the wheel turns, inexorably, in a circle and no forward progress is ever gained. But in the rotating motion, the world at least seems to change from the clarity and proximity of the real world, when the chair is at the ground level, to the distance and distortion when the chair is at the top.
As Nicole descends to earth — and perhaps to reality — Dick is able to grab her. Their brief conversation suggests that not only is Nicole suspicious of the former inmate who had written Dick, but also that she has seen a girl in the carnival crowd who, she thinks, was making advances to him. It is hard to determine whether Nicole's jealousy causes her madness or whether her madness causes her jealousy. It does seem, however, that her illness has to do with "daddies" and a fear of being left alone. In addition, she has an acute realization that she is ill, just as Zelda Fitzgerald did.
The climax of Chapter xv is based on a real experience from the Fitzgeralds' life. On their drive home, Nicole reaches over and jerks the steering wheel from Dick, nearly catapulting the car over a cliff. Dick, with difficulty, is able to right the wheels again, but the car veers into some bushes and tips on its side. Zelda did the same thing; her impulse at the time, she said later, was that she was trying to save them, not destroy them. It is interesting to note that Fitzgerald chooses to view Nicole's action as one of evil; Dick wants to smash in her face because he believes she consciously wanted to destroy them all. Dick Diver, as a psychiatrist, should not see this act as malevolence but rather as sickness, a fact which suggests that Dick Diver at this point is also the author: Fitzgerald writes himself into the character so much that it is less Dick Diver thinking of Nicole than F. Scott Fitzgerald who wants to knock some sense into Zelda. Such confusion of self and character often explains seeming inconsistencies in the novel. For the first time in the novel, for example, we are told that Dick Diver must try to keep Nicole away from brandy, both at the carnival and at the inn after the accident. The overtones are that Nicole is an alcoholic as well as a schizophrenic. It seems odd that this rather important fact has not been mentioned before and is not alluded to again in the novel. In real life, of course, it was not Zelda who was addicted to alcohol. Almost as if to make Nicole's illness a composite of all illness, Fitzgerald at this point transfers his own problems into the character of Nicole. Even though Nicole Diver is a triumph of collected weakness and loss of self, she ultimately conquers because so "one and equal" are she and Dick that only one of them can have the identity they share. It is a sick love, this identification of oneself completely with another, oddly like the Catherine-Heathcliff amour so powerfully described by Emily Bronte in Wuthering Heights.
Nicole's struggles have already robbed Dick of the self he once had, and in Chapter xvi he sets out to find himself again. He has to leave the clinic and Nicole behind in what is not so much an escape as a search. His travels take him to all the places and people where rescue might lie; he is being led to the desert of his own self where he no longer will be able to find the nourishment of continuance.
Ostensibly attending a psychiatric convention in Berlin, Dick leaves Zurich by plane, feeling that he has "abandoned sickness to the sick, sound to the motors, direction to the pilot." Would that it were so easy to find oneself He is actually on a sentimental journey, hoping to be led back to his simple roots, where his father preached sermons about what was good and right; then, his only concern, as a boy, was how much money to put in the collection plate. He is looking for the early, simple, and sweet Wordsworthian wholeness of youth in an attempt to find what he is; somewhere, he knows, he has gone astray.
Instead of simple truths, Dick finds corruption, sin, and grime in Munich, his first stop. By chance, he encounters Tommy Barban whom he has not seen since their days on the Riviera. Barban's name is very close to "barbarian," and his brute power and corruption was early suggested both by the duel and by Tommy's career — that of fighting in wars. Tommy Barban, without principle, will fight in anyone's war, and his recent exploits show no reformation. His job apparently had been to free a Russian prince named Chillicheff, who had been in hiding. The rescuers killed three men to free the prince, and Dick Diver, and all sensitive people with him, wonders whether the life of one decaying Russian monarchist is worth that of three young men doing their duty.
Dick's psyche needs healing, but instead it is dealt horror. To senseless killing is added death, the surprise knowledge of Abe North's demise. And not even Abe died a peaceful death; he was "beaten to death in a speakeasy," degradation added to death. The recurring motif of war enters Dick's dreams that night, this time a collection of war veterans going to lay wreaths on the tombs of the dead. It is Dick's paean to Abe whom he had known in earlier and better days.
In Chapter xviii, Dick Diver's hegira continues, but events again conspire tragically. He is alone, he says, "for his soul's sake"; it is an attempt to search within himself and disentangle himself from Nicole's complicated life. Nicole's presence has not only forced Dick to be a full-time on-duty doctor; her money has dictated that his career involve dealing with moneyed people — both socially and professionally. It is clear that Dick is not really attracted to money itself, as some critics have said, but rather that stacks of cash have begun to obscure his vision. At one point he quietly realizes that he has spent most of his professional life "teaching the rich the ABC's of human decency."
Decency is a key word: decency is not learned; it is a natural charity and understanding of others. The embodiment of this natural courtesy and morality for Dick, of course, has been his father, and as he begins to realize the supreme naturalness of his father's goodness, he begins to yearn for that same facility of living for himself. His desire for the simplicity and innocence of his original self takes two strong paths — one, to the innocence of new love (elaborated on later), and, second, a yearning for the simple life of his American father. Such easy recapture of his original self, however, is impossible. While at a hotel in Innsbruck, Dick receives a telegram telling of his father's death.
Whereas many of Fitzgerald's walk-on characters (Collis Clay and Luis Campion) never achieve any stature, the figure of Dick Diver's father is a powerful one, though he is spoken of only briefly and always in Dick's reminiscences. He is a symbol of the cultivated, naturally courteous, older generation that has passed. It is interesting to note that for all F. Scott Fitzgerald's leadership in the "Jazz Age," there is a sense in which he scorned the new values and clung to an older, more rigid conception of the world. Dick's memory of his father comes in a brief flashback, years ago when he was walking downtown with him; Mr. Diver is proud of his son and he tells him brief anecdotes, which, like parables, are quiet and effective. The things he learned from his father, Dick realizes, were simple and honest — and accurate.
The book has, as stated earlier, a veritable refrain of farewells, and Dick Diver's return to America for his father's funeral combines leave-taking both of his father and of his homeland as he remembered it. Reverend Diver is buried in Virginia, along with generations of his family, a significant clue to Dick's past. The Divers have a history and, in a deep sense, they belong to the land. But either because Dick Diver knows that he has been severed from that tradition or that America herself has forsaken the memory of its first settlers. Dick bids a poignant farewell in Chapter xix: "Good-bye, my father — good-bye, all my fathers."
The ghosts of Dick's past seem to file before him on this voyage, as if, by their change, to indicate to Dick Diver his own change. On the voyage back to Europe he encounters Albert McKisco, the haughty and egocentric author who once fancied himself a kind of James Joyce when he and the Divers lived on the Riviera. McKisco, now, it seems, is all the rage. His novels are widely acclaimed, and with the lionizing of the literary world, McKisco seems to have become more interesting. But he is still a sham, and Dick Diver must wonder about a world that kills its Abe Norths but lets its Albert McKiscos survive.
Since Fitzgerald seems to be relentlessly knocking away at all of Dick Diver's props of hope and optimism, it is probably self-evident that on this trip the hero will have to reencounter Rosemary Hoyt, since, in some respects, it was his love for her which initially started the avalanche of unfortunate events which now threatens to bury Dick. She appears in the lobby of the Hotel Quirinal in Rome. Dick's first thoughts after seeing her are very telling; he desires to see her as she was in the past and "to hold her eloquent giving-of-herself in its precious shell, till he enclosed it, till it no longer existed outside him." In short, so precious in his memory of Rosemary's utter naïveté and selflessness when she first offered herself to him that in an attempt to preserve such simplicity, Dick would like to completely surround it, no doubt suffocating her in the process. Dick Diver, of all people, should know that human beings cannot be put into a hermetically sealed environment and be expected to flourish. It is testimony to his desperation to find something basic in himself that he wants to capture Rosemary's innocent self and imprison it for himself.
But he is to find that her innocence no longer remains. Like the deaths of Abe North and his father, there has been a death in Rosemary. She says straightforwardly to him in Chapter xx: "I was just a little girl when I met you, Dick. Now I'm a woman." She probably means the distinction in several ways. Her career as an actress is flourishing and she is therefore no longer the Hollywood ingénue whose first film was a hit. She has a romance with her leading man, an Italian named Nicotera, and later she confesses that this man would like to marry her, though, thus far, she has resisted. And, last, there is the question of her physical virginity. Dick Diver has a deep need to know that he would be her first lover, almost as though the defloration of her would buy him innocence, an odd paradox, but one that still has its adherents.
Rosemary teases him when he asks her about her lovers; there have been six hundred and forty others, she says. Actually, there have not, but she feels that he deserves such an answer for having even asked the question. She has always been willing to surrender her virginity to Dick, but by the time the opportunity comes, physical virginity means little to Rosemary. She is disappointed to find that the Dick Diver she has admired during three years seems to be quite like other men in pressing on her his sexual needs, and Dick himself realizes at nearly the same time that it is Nicole he really loves and that his infatuation with Rosemary is "selfindulgence." The realization comes late after his infatuation with Rosemary has caused Nicole's near breakdown and his own professional demise. Self-knowledge comes too slowly. Yet he somehow still needs to believe in her innocence, if only so that he can destroy it, and in order to punish her and himself, he invents a succession of likely suitors, at which Rosemary laughs. His attitude toward lovers for Rosemary is odd, for it seems to imply some sort of ownership or promise, and it is probably difficult for readers to sympathize completely with Fitzgerald's comment that imagining Rosemary's lovers was a way of "torturing himself." Likewise, there is a contradiction in the fact of his understanding how much he loves Nicole in which he says, "thoughts about Nicole, that she should die, sink into mental darkness, love another man, made him physically sick." That he could equate death and mental disease with infidelity is a key to Dick Diver — and possibly to F. Scott Fitzgerald. There is a humorous contradiction, as well, in the fact that Dick Diver is thinking this thought, getting sick at his stomach at the idea of Nicole's infidelity, after he has seduced a woman whom he has loved, certainly with sexual overtones, for three years. Rosemary and Dick, finally, learn something about themselves and each other. After a tense conversation at the end of Chapter xxi, they part, Rosemary to go on with her career and Dick to return to Nicole. Dick Diver says good-bye again, this time adding sadly, "I don't seem to bring people happiness any more." Dick Diver has been unable to purchase a new beginning by seizing Rosemary's once virginal innocence.
There is one final degradation for Dick Diver in Rome: he is doomed to be rescued one last time by Baby Warren. Twice before, Dick's fate was determined by her — when she "bought" a doctor, then a clinic, for Nicole. Now when Dick meets her in Rome, she is anxious to get Nicole away from Franz and Dick's clinic and to settle her in England because, in her opinion, the English are the most "balanced" people in the world. Baby is an Anglophile; once before (in Gstaad) she appeared in the company of two Englishmen, and later in the novel we learned that she was engaged to an Englishman. One can ponder the reason for her national preferences, but it does seem to be related to the Warren money's having been made in one generation and having therefore no rank or class attached. It is almost as though Baby Warren would like to buy status through her love of the English.
Dick Diver has no innate love of the English, and, far from thinking them the sanest people in the world, he opposes Nicole's being moved to England because of a pious hope that the much vaunted English stability will aid her. He turns clinical psychologist by telling Baby frankly that Nicole's past has, in some ways, been inevitable. If the Diver marriage proves to be unsuccessful, she would have married someone like Dick anyway — someone, the undertone seems to be, of an independent cast whose lifeblood she could drain. Almost automatically Baby Warren's money-oriented self reacts: "You think she'd be happier with somebody else? Of course it could be arranged." Both Baby Warren and Dick Diver are wrong about Nicole, of course, and their coolly deciding her future, each in his own way, equates them for a moment. Nicole does not, in the end, settle for a father-figure or an Englishman, though it could be questioned whether her ultimate choice is really better than the options that Baby and Dick have in mind for her.
The shallow and self-centered Baby Warren, whose main stability is the power she can buy with her wealth is, ironically, the only person Dick Diver can turn to when, later that evening, he gets thrown into jail because of hitting a man who, it turns out, is a plainclothes carabinieri, or Italian policeman. Far from possessing the old charm that characterized the early Dick Diver, the novel's hero rages, curses, and attacks because of what seems to be a simple matter of a cab fare. Unable to speak Italian, he is locked up like any other unruly citizen, and he must wait for Baby to come to help him.
Dick's emissary finally reaches Baby Warren, and immediately she sets out to rescue him. She begins, typically enough for a woman who understands power and the ways of influence, with the American Embassy. There she meets her match, a man of "the Eastern seaboard," not one of the Chicago nouveau riche, the class to which the Warren's belong. This employee is able to turn Baby away by his simple command that she leave; and the humor of the situation is amplified by the man's puny presence — he is swathed in pink cream, turbaned, and decked out in delicate nightclothes. Baby Warren does not give up, however, and later in the morning she is able to make the consul himself bow to her demands for American intercession to release Dick.
Fitzgerald injects a remarkable and altogether unexpected passage at this point, for it is prose of real hate. He equates Baby Warren with American womanhood; as he describes her trying to persuade the consul to come with her to free her brother-in-law he says: "The American Woman, aroused, stood over him; the clean-sweeping irrational temper that had broken the moral back of a race and made a nursery out of a continent, was too much for him." On the surface this seems an unworthy and gratuitous jibe, since to this point the reader has in no way been prepared for the judgment that Baby Warren is the symbol of American womanhood. She is not the only American woman in the book, so her attributes have not seemed to universalize her. We have not, until now, heard Fitzgerald's pronouncement that America is doomed, and we are not prepared for his judgment that the collapse has come because of women in America. As an outburst of authorial judgment this section deserves more to be included in a history of F. Scott Fitzgerald's ideas or a critical reading of his life than it does to contribute to the novel; it appears as an unwelcome incursion and is never followed up and, therefore, explains nothing.
Despite, or perhaps because of, her attacks on the virility of America, Baby Warren (with a vice-consul and a lawyer provided by the American Embassy) is nonetheless able to free Dick from his incarceration. The act has not, however, come without its penalty — Dick now knows that he is forever in her debt and that she will use this event in the future, if it is to her advantage. Baby Warren thinks that, at last, Dick is in her power; it is a measure of Dick's complete loss of self that he probably would not quarrel with that judgment. Far from discovering his essential self, Dick Diver, at the end of Book 2, is released from jail, but not from the prison of his own increasingly pathless life.